Director: Fede Alverez
Stars: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto
Home invasion films are nothing new, but Don’t Breathe masterfully inverts the typical scenario, because this time, the good guys are the intruders. This tense horror film follows three delinquents, Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto), who make a living breaking into people’s homes and stealing their goods. After a string of successful burglaries, their next target is the home of an old blind man (Stephen Lang), believing he has a large amount of money at hand.
Unfortunately for our trio, the man is in fact highly dangerous. He’s an ex war veteran, who was blinded in combat, and what he lacks in sight he makes up for with his heightened senses, so he can hear even the slightest of sounds. This makes things very difficult for Rocky, Alex and Money when snooping around his home. As a result, they find themselves trapped in his house and fighting for their lives, as The Blind Man ruthlessly pursues them.
Recently, there has been a string of some very good horror films, many reaching critical acclaim, such as The Babadook (2015) and It Follows (2014). The horror genre is notoriously known for being unpopular with critics. Don’t Breath is another fresh and gripping horror film, so the genre really does seem to be on fine form. I really enjoyed the simplicity of Don’t Breathe, as it doesn’t involve the supernatural, or rely on any monsters. It’s a highly tense and engaging film that allows you to just switch off and enjoy the thrills.
As an avid watcher of horror films, I have quite high expectations of them, as well as a low tolerance to cliches. Whilst the scares in Don’t Breathe aren’t wholly original, the film does take the audience in an inventive and unpredictable direction. Whilst the performances are strong, the teenagers are slightly stereotypical and like the majority of horror films, the characters behave a bit irrationally. I’m always either laughing, or voicing my frustrations when a character does something ridiculously stupid in a horror film. I didn’t do this that much when watching Don’t Breathe, as it’s above all, very entertaining. Although there is twist, the film is pretty straight forward, so it’s ideal for those of you who love to just sit back and watch lively action and high stakes.
Interestingly, Don’t Breath focuses more on the situation, rather than making any character distinctive and well-developed. This approach actually works really well, particularly in regards to The Blind Man, as we’re so detached from him, it makes him even more scary.
Stephen Lang’s portrayal of the menacing Blind Man, is essentially what makes Don’t Breath so gripping. Lang delivers an unhinged performance, and even though his character is a total maniac, his dark backstory is genuinely sympathetic. Although his action are atrocious and completely unforgivable, part of me does feel sorry for him. But ultimately, the intruders are the ones you root for, as we’re aligned with these characters and endure the chaos just as they do.
Overall: Don’t Breath is violent, edgy and disturbing – everything you expect from a standard horror film. Its interesting premise is what keeps the film from being generic. You probably won’t be telling your friends that Don’t Breath is a must-see, because it’s not genre-defying or anything truly remarkable, but it’s an intense film that’ll leave you gasping for breath all the way through.
What did you think of Don’t Breath? Let me know in the comments below!